DAT Breakdown 7/5 AA 21 - Your average student (3.3 cGPA)(Very Long/Intensive)

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Nov 16, 2015
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Hey everyone! I'm TimeTraveler and here is my DAT breakdown.

So I want to begin by throwing a huge shout-out to Chad's Videos, @Ari Rezaei and @orgoman22 for the amazing amount of help I got from ChadsVids, Bootcamp and Destroyer, respectively. I don't think I would have managed to get my grade without you guys!

I also want to warn you folks that this will be a very, very long breakdown. I've underlined/highlighted sections for easier reading and formatting. I'm sorry it's so long; this community helped me A LOT while I was studying.


I'll get right to the breakdown and have some of my own commentary on the bottom!

Here were my grades:

PAT: 17
QR: 21
RC: 24
Bio: 21
GC: 21
OC: 19

TS: 20
AA: 21

Resources Used
- Chad's Videos
- DAT Bootcamp
- DAT Genius
- DAT Destroyer
- Cliffs AP Bio
- Feralis Notes


Bootcamp Test Scores (Subject - Test1, 2, 3, 4, 5..):

Biology - 17, 16, 18, 19, 22
Organic Chemistry - 14, 18, 18, 21, 20
General Chemistry - 19, 18, 19, 18, 19
Quantitative Reasoning - 16, 16, 15, 17, 18, 18, 21, 19, 20
Reading Comprehension - 19, 16
PAT - 14 LOL - took 1 test and I didn't have the guts to do any more from BC.

DAT Genius Test Scores (Subject - Test1, 2, 3, 4, 5..):

Biology - 20, 22, 19, 20, 20
Organic Chemistry - 20, 19, 20
General Chemistry - 19, 17
Reading Comprehension - 20, 20, 21, 20, 21
PAT - 19, 20

Crack DAT (Subject - Test1, 2, 3):

PAT - 17, 15, 19


Resource Breakdown:

Chad's Videos

Chad is, as everyone always says, the man. It's the first thing you should do. I watched all of his videos on speed 1.6 (best speed imo), outlining all the problems/concepts he talked about.

Cliffs AP/Feralis

These two sources are your bread and butter for biology-learning. I highlighted/read/memorized as I went along the entire book. I then used Feralis to hone in on each subject and get specific details.

DAT Bootcamp

I can't even begin with this one. If you're not using Bootcamp to study for your DAT, you're doing something wrong. This was the perfect place to test my memorization/studying progress. You really see your grades go up as you learn and correct your mistakes. The questions on BC were quite representative of the DAT.

DAT Genius

This was Bootcamp's little brother :pacifier:, it helped me test my knowledge of Bio/OC (reactions polishing, specific facts for biology, overview of most important topics etc.) Mostly though, the main help I got from this was its Reading Comprehension, which was a SOLID way to get better at RC and check yourself. I thought the test's RC section was absolute cake compared to Genius and Bootcamp.


I did three tests on this to confirm how bad my PAT situation was. The real test was 10x harder than Crack PAT, much more similar to BC in that manner.

DAT Destroyer :mask:

I read at least 6-8 breakdowns of people who went "through Destroyer 3-5 times". I was so pissed at myself knowing that I had failed to do it even once, but every situation is different. If I can succeed, so you can you!

I was time-cramped by the end, so I was only able to get through about:

Bio: 380/540~
GC: 190/400~
Orgo: 230/400~
QR: 140/140

Destroyer is GREAT. It's the resource that will cement your knowledge of Bio, OC and GC - you'll be able to easily distinguish between answer choices and mark out the ones you know aren't even closely related to the question.

This book hit me in my weak areas, especially with OC and GC; the question sets really teach you to learn questions. By the time my exam came, Destroyer had solidified most of my knowledge, from random biology facts/concepts to memorizing/understanding ways to tackle GC/OC/QR problems.


Test Center Comments (real quick):

The test center was pretty solid. I really recommend doing a test drive to your center the week before. It keeps you more calm/prepared for the real day.

In terms of physical test issues, the periodic table takes up the entire screen, which is super annoying. The calculator glitched out here and there, and the system was laggy at times. The note-boards given are excellent for creating hole-punching and cube charts. Not a great fan of the markers though, one of mine barely worked.


Section-Section Breakdown (Comments and then Test Day Comparison)(Bio, OC, GC, QR, RC + long rant about PAT):


This section on the exam is really what everyone says it is - you will be tested on ANYTHING and EVERYTHING :highfive:

Cliffs --> Feralis --> Practice Tests via BOOTCAMP/GENIUS --> Destroyer

Destroyer will help you memorize everything and anything you encounter, random low protein kangaroo rats, or Agnatha and hepatic vein systems.

Another piece of advice is to please, PLEASE get your hands on some dope mnemonics.

Random Mnemonic Plug
- King Philip Came Over for Great Sex
- Save His Purkije
- Privileged Children Play Nicely and Maturely
- Never Let Monkeys Eat Bananas
- Never Fear of Ice Cold Beer (chem)
- Sabrino SoCloClo (chem),

Everything you try to turn into a mnemonic will work successfully, I guarantee it.

You'll be flying through the bio section on the real exam, and one word from those mnemonics will pop up. You'll be done with that question in < 5 seconds. Keep powering through.

Test Day:

Practice tests and Destroyer problems helped me easily break down questions to 2 answer choices. .
Most were very basic-knowledge based - ie things you should know after studying Cliffs/Feralis and the consistently given concepts in practice tests.


Organic Chemistry:

Studying for this section began with Chad's videos, which gave me a bunch of reactions to look at and memorize. Once you get these basic reactions down, you'll be able to manage a 16-17 on practice tests.

Getting better at reactions and learning the ways topics are tested will help you get your score to the 20-21 range. At that point, Destroyer will help you score in the higher 20s for sure.

Test Day:

I was pretty pissed about my OC score. I was consistently getting 20s in practice tests near the end; I was doing decently well in Destroyer as well.

Alas, beyond the reactions-to-know you'd see in any resource, there were a few (5-6) that were tricky. I could see myself getting a couple of those wrong due to weird wording or just a bizarre fact that threw me off. It wasn't TOO hard, so I can imagine the grading for this section was not as lenient.


General Chemistry:

Once again, Chad is your man here. I took notes of his videos and studied them carefully. In my opinion, the GC section is the second most straight-forward section on the DAT (after my RC experience). Do the practice tests to gauge your knowledge, learn the exceptions/best ways to tackle problems and you should be absolutely fine for this section (19-20).

Getting higher than a 20 will come from doing as much Destroyer as possible and learning how to avoid the more subtle question-traps.

Test Day:

Out of the 30 questions in this section, about 75% of it was straight forward. The other quarter was quite tricky; most of the questions could be broken down to two answer choices (the most common student-test-taking dilemma evaar). Once again, use Destroyer to hit the tricky questions.


Quantitative Reasoning:

In my opinion, the QR section is the easiest section of the DAT. The difficult in this section lies in sheer timing and efficiency. You have to be QUICK with these questions. Thus, if you get stuck on a tricky question and it looks like it will take too long to set up/think about, take a deep breath (4 seconds!), try again, and then GUESS, MARK and MOVE ON.

BC's QR section is ON-POINT. Those practice tests initially whooped my butt in terms of content/timing; keep analyzing your results/mistakes and you will learn to quickly sweep questions aside.Destroyer's QR section is great for polishing up your skills after BC. I got almost 85% of them right (out of 140) my first time answering the questions.

My two cents - I've heard a lot about how the QR calculator should be something you use only for specific purposes. Dude, screw that. I used my calculator for every darn thing I could possibly need it for. The square root of a square root of 4960? If the proper method doesn't hit you INSTANTLY, and i mean like INSTANTLY, pop dem numbers in the dam calculator. Slap that square root button twice like a champ :whistle:.

Test Day:

This was my last section of the test, so I was super pumped and ready to give it my all to save my AA. Questions 1 to like 28 were like clockwork. I saw the question, wrote down an expression/representation to solve it on my note board and found my answer.

The only problem I had was timing. By the 7 minute mark, I had 10 questions left (30-40). I skipped all the way to 40 and worked my way down; Bootcamp's QR sections always had semi-easy questions to hit in the 37,38,39, 40 slots. Fortunately for me, THE EXACT SAME was true for my DAT. I did, however, have to guess 'C' for 4 questions scattered throughout the test.


Reading Comprehension:

The RC section on my DAT was very easy in my opinion. Either I got lucky with a more simple version or that's how it generally is, no clue. Personally, I feel as if being "prepared" for RC comes much more from the reading abilities you've honed your entire life than just practicing passages. However, that's not to say that studying/practice doesn't help.

If you have time to study for this test (4-5 months), I'd really suggest starting to read interesting NON-SCIENTIFIC stories. Once you can feel comfy reading through pages and pages of words, the DAT RC section becomes a pet you will play and cuddle with. I'm serious, not even trying to be funny.

Most of being successful at RC involves having the ability to:
a) Read quickly and retain info as a way to brief yourself.
b) Remember areas/concepts of importance.
Applying both A and B simultaneously in a search-and-destroy method to success.

DAT Genius and BC were my two main methods of practicing.

Test Day:

This section bloody saved my life. It was far easier than anything I had seen in Bootcamp and Genius. The questions were literally in order of paragraphs. I spent 5 minutes skimming through the first half of the passage and continued to answer the questions. 90% of the questions were VERY straight forward.

If I had to summarize this section into "question-types", this is how I'd do it. You'd see the following "types of questions" on the DAT. Don't take the wording too literally obviously, I just think this is the general gist of questions I saw on my DAT and some practice tests.

1) X is said to have blah effect on blah situation, what is true about X?
2) The word "X" is used to describe blah. Based on the passage, what does "X" mean?
3) X is blah. Y is blah. How are X and Y related?
4) How does the author feel about X when he is describing it's influence on blah?
5) Statement 1: "X". Statement 2: "Y". What is correct? X is true, Y is false/ both are true and/but are(not) related etc.

You get the gist. BC and Genius are hands-down perfect for RC preparation. In my experience, my RC section was far easier than both.


The Long Rant that is Perceptual Ability :meh::

Man, on the real, I HATED this section of the exam. The amount of trouble and sleepless nights I had due to my PAT experiences was simply terrible. To study (and unsuccessfully get my 17), I used:

1) Crack DAT PAT
2) Bootcamp

I just really sucked at PAT. I still got confused by keyhole questions and took my sweet *** time trying to resolve TFE objects. I'm beyond happy I survived this section of the test.

Test Day:

I got absolutely demolished. The Keyholes section were tricky. You have to really see the object from as many angles as possible with precision. I spent about 14 minutes doing this section, having no clue what I got right or wrong 100%

The TFE was also very difficult, I ended up giving it only 8 minutes of my time and guessed 'C' on the last 4 questions so I could hop onto angle ranking. Very similar to BC's section; this is HARD stuff.

Angle Ranking was also very tough, but it's one of those things that come down to your eyes. The Hill/Laptop methods were the two methods I used to get better at this section. I was averaging 12/15, 13/15 on CDP using these methods. Another thing I've tested for this section, especially on CDP, was to sit back from the computer monitor, close your eyes and then rapidly open and scan the angles from left to right, immediately choosing the perceived smallest angle you witnessed. If you get better at it, you'll start guessing the smallest angles correctly 80-85% of the time.

Hole Punching was on the easier side of things; it was definitely easier than CDP's holes. I used Az's video on Hole Punching, which helped me get through this section in a very timely/efficient fashion.
Az's Video: (not sure if I'm allowed to post links, a mod can remove if necessary).

The Cube Counting section was very easy. CC takes pure focus, don't think of anything else but what cube you're currently counting and what pattern your counting follows. The way I did this part was through just starting with the first "floor" of cubes, completing it and moving on to the next "floor". Of course, put your count/tallies on a table labeled 1-5 (relative to #sides exposed).

Folding was a mess. I know I got at least 5 questions wrong in this section. This section had a ton less freebies where you can see which side doesn't exist in the cutout etc.


By average, I mean that I'm your average test taker. Studying for this test takes a lot of time, but if you can output after studying, you should be fine!

Of course, like everyone, I have a unique life and have a well-rounded package of community service, leadership and dental experience (via shadowing/working) and great interview stories.

I have a 3.25 sGPA and a 3.35 cGPA. I applied to 9 schools, getting rejected from 5 and accepted from 4 after interviews.

But that's my breakdown! I wish you all the best of luck! I know it seems like a hike up Mt. HailMary at first, but over the course of hours and hours, you WILL know how to tackle the questions. I hope this helped!


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Hey you did great! The schools will love that RC score
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So for the Reading Comprehension, what was your strategy of approaching the passage & questions?

Thanks! The first thing I usually do is quickly read the first 3-4 paragraphs, just to get a gist of the author's tone and how the topic is introduced.

Then, search and destroy your way to victory. My questions were all in order, so SnD was really easy.
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